Under the immigration laws of the United States, an individual who applies for an immigrant visa abroad, or who seeks permanent residency while in the United States, must undergo a medical examination to establish that they are free from any conditions that would render them inadmissible on health-related grounds.

Effective October 1, 2021, in addition to the current list of mandatory inoculations, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) mandates that applicants must also demonstrate completion of a COVID-19 vaccination series (one or two doses, depending on the vaccine) to the panel physician or civil surgeon performing the medical evaluation. According to the CDC, the following constitute acceptable proof of vaccination: (1) an official vaccination record, or (2) a copy of a medical chart with entries made by a physician or other appropriate medical personnel. Absent this documentation, the panel physician or civil surgeon may agree to administer the vaccine to the applicant to meet this requirement.

Continue Reading New COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for Immigrants

The Japanese government has continued strict entry restrictions for essentially all foreigners due to COVID-19. At the same time, there have been heated debates amongst government officials and Japanese business groups on whether and how to loosen the entry restrictions for business travel, which have impacted both global business and the Japanese economy since the restrictions first came into effect. While the national emergency declaration has been extended to the end of September for many regions in Japan, the country’s high vaccination rates and declining surge of delta variant infection rates have added to this debate.  Continue reading at Mayer Brown’s COVID 19 Blog.

USCIS announced today, August 9, 2021, that applicants filing for lawful permanent resident status are now able to apply for a Social Security number (SSN) or replacement card as part of the adjustment of status application process. Previously, these individuals had to apply for a Social Security number at a Social Security office. USCIS has published an updated Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, to include the additional questions needed to apply for an SSN or a replacement card.  See Mayer Brown’s In Brief by for a summary of the USCIS guidance.

Several news outlets, including Reuters, AP and NBC, are reporting that a condition of reopening travel to the United States may include vaccination against the SARS-COV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.  These reports come only ten days after the White House confirmed that the travel bans currently in place for travelers from 33 countries will remain in place in light of concerns over the transmissibility of the Delta variant. The Biden administration has a keen interest in lifting the travel restrictions; a move expected to jumpstart a lagging economy, but at what cost, both politically and in terms of public health?  We are likely to hear more about this developing issue in the coming weeks.

Chile continues suspending the entry of foreign nationals due to the outbreak of Coronavirus until July 25, 2021. Exemptions have been carved out, including specific procedures for companies to apply for a a safe conduct (“Salvoconducto”) to allow entry to the country for essential or critical personnel. Continue Reading Chile Continues Banning Entry of Foreign Nationals and Placing Restrictions for Exit

Starting September 1st, 2021, Korean immigration will require visa waiver entrants (traveling for tourism or business) to obtain an electronic travel authorization, known as, K-ETA, at least 24 hours prior to travel.  Currently, K-ETA is an optional program but will become mandatory on September 1st. Continue Reading Republic of Korea Introduces K-ETA

Taiwan continues suspending the entry of visitors and resident visa holders until July 16.  Only foreign nationals with an Alien Resident Certificate are permitted to enter. Exceptions are being considered on a case-by-case basis for emergencies and on humanitarian grounds.

Continue Reading In Response to Rising COVID-19 Cases, Taiwan Continues Banning Foreign Nationals

The limit on the number of international arrivals coming into Australia via commercial flights, the so-called “passenger cap”, will be halved from July 14 due to concerns around the Delta variant of Covid-19.  The new cap will be 3,035 international arrivals per week, and each major airport will be subject to these caps:

  • Sydney: 1,505 per week
  • Perth: 265 per week
  • Adelaide: 265 per week
  • Melbourne: 500 per week
  • Brisbane: 500 per week (plus 150 surge capacity)

Continue Reading Decrease in Australia’s Incoming Passenger Cap

In response to COVID-19 outbreaks, some Australian states and territories have enacted new restrictions and closed their borders. These restrictions include mandatory quarantines, COVID-19 tests, and the completion of either declaration or registration forms. Australia has remained closed to international travelers, unless you are an Australia citizen, resident, immediate family member, or meet a specified exemption. If returning home to Australia or if an exception is met, travelers from oversees, with the exception of travelers from New Zealand who meet eligibility criteria, are required to quarantine at their port of arrival for 14 days at a government-designated accommodation.

Continue Reading COVID-19 Outbreaks Cause Border Closures and New Travel Restrictions Across Australia

On July 6, 2021, the Department of State extended the validity of National Interest Exceptions (NIE) for travelers subject to restrictions under the COVID-19 travel bans (Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992, 10143, and 10199).  Unless otherwise indicated, existing NIEs will be valid for 12 months from the date of approval and for multiple entries, as long as they are used for the purpose under which they were granted.

Continue Reading State Department Extends Validity of National Interest Exceptions